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Dinner Invitations

by: CJ aka WritinginCt (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 5164
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ziva David
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Episode Related, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/Ziva
Summary: Five times Gibbs asked Ziva out to dinner, and the one time he didn't Gibbs/Ziva, (AU segments), Season 5 Recoil spoilers

Chapters: 1

Title: Dinner Invitations
Author: CJ aka WritinginCT
Fandom: NCIS
Pairing: Gibbs/Ziva
Rating: FR13
Warnings: Season 5 Recoil spoilers
Categories: AU, Drama, Angst, Romance
Disclaimer: I don’t own the recognizable characters I’m just inspired by them. Hopefully they’ve had fun playing in my sandbox.
Summary: Five times Gibbs asked Ziva out to dinner, and the one time he didn't (AU segments)
Status: Complete 5/16/08 5100 Words

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He asked her at the dojo...

Jethro was on the mat stretching when she walked into the room, her white uniform pristine but obviously well broken in. The black of her belt intrigued him, this particular dojo did not have many female black belts. Her thick hair was dark and long down her back and she was attempting to braid it quickly. Her eyes were everywhere in the room, assessing and taking stock as she braided. And when they met his he grinned, she was gorgeous, and he enjoyed the little blush he caused on her cheeks as she looked away. He hadn't seen her in the dojo before and wondered who she was. Ben, the instructor, was known for being very selective as to who he allowed in his advanced classes, she must have impressed him.

Ben started the class as he always did, with a long kata. It was a little different than the one she was used to and as Jethro watched her in the mirror he could see she was a beat behind everyone as she quickly learned the series of movements. She was graceful and her movements deliberate and precise.

When the kata was complete, Ben paired off the group, and Jethro found himself partnered with the petite woman. He felt that given that he was about to put his hands on her person that he should at least introduce himself and he offered with a smirk, “Jethro Gibbs.”

“Ziva David.” She said with a playful little nod of her head. Her accent shivers down his spine, it was as exotic as she was. They squared off and started sparring. And Jethro was surprised to find himself on his back looking up at her, he couldn't remember the last time anyone had had the upper hand over him. He got up with a chuckle and they did it all again, this time with him the victor. Again and again they bested each other, not realizing that the entire class had gathered around them to watch as they teased and tormented each other. As he got up yet again, he laughed and said, “I win this time and I get to take you to dinner.”

Her eyes flashed with humor, and teased back, “And what do I get if I win?”

He tugged on his ear and smirked, “I get to take you to dinner.”

As they squared off one more time everyone watching could tell that they would soon be making a kata all their own...

---------------

He asked her at a Washington D.C. Greek restaurant...

The hostess smiled and said, “Good evening, Mr. Gibbs. Welcome to Allesandro's. I don't believe you've dined with us before, do you have any particular table preference?”

He returned a pleasant smile, “Just something quiet, but where I can see people.”

“I have the perfect table for you, if you'll please follow me.” The hostess was on the cusp of being forty, and she was trying entirely too hard to be flirtatious and catch the eye of the handsome, blue-eyed man in an impeccable navy blue suit. She desperately wanted a rich husband, but unfortunately she gave off a vibe that let all the men in her radar know exactly that.

She seated him at a suitable table and left him with a menu and the wine list. His attention was distracted when a woman in a white chef's jacket made her way through the restaurant to speak with diners at another table. He listened as she cheerfully accepted compliments on her cuisine from the other patrons. She spoke with them for a few minutes and he found himself enthralled watching her. Graceful and petite, she was confident and had an easy laugh. Her dark hair was pulled back in a thick braid and he wondered what it looked like when it was down. He listened to her voice and tried to place her accent, it was definitely middle-eastern, Israeli most likely. He wondered for a moment how exactly she had ended up a chef in a Washington restaurant.

He was so distracted that he did not see a robust man in a suit approaching his table, the man being Allesandro, the owner of the restaurant. Allesandro made it his mission in life to read all of the newspapers and keep on top of the faces of important Washington visitors. He was surprised to see Jethro Gibbs here in his restaurant alone. Gibbs was in Washington in an attempt to lure him to move his ship building operation back to the United States. His picture had been in the society pages as he was wined and dine all over Capital Hill. What he was doing at Allesandro's modest restaurant he did not know, and it made the portly man nervous.

The chef thanked the other patrons one final time and turned to go back to the kitchen, her path took her past Gibbs table and she smiled and paused as she went by his table to whisper conspiratorially behind her hand, “Go with the lamb, trust me.” And she gave him a little wink and walked off before he could say a word.

He had a silly expression on his face when Allesandro walked up, “Mr. Gibbs, welcome to my restaurant, I am honored to have such an illustrious businessman grace one of my tables.”

Gibbs extended his hand, “It's Jethro. And actually you can thank your brother Darius back in Volos, he told me this was the only place to get decent Greek food in Washington.” He gestured for Allesandro to sit with him.

Allesandro was floored and asked as he sat down, “You know my brother?”

“I eat lunch at his restaurant a couple of times a week.” If Allesandro thought he could have been more surprised he was wrong, his brother's restaurant was a very casual, simple place that overlooked the ocean. It was not a place for the rich and famous.

Gibbs caught sight of Ziva again, out among the patrons and Allesandro followed his line of sight. “Ah, Ziva. She is jewel. She can cook like an angel and speaks at least a dozen languages. My customers all love her. One of these days someone is going to steal her away from me so she can become the next world famous gourmet.”

He waved Ziva over and introduced her, noticing the obvious spark of attraction between them. Allesandro excused himself and left them alone to talk, he was a rather soft touch when it came to matchmaking and enjoyed playing Cupid.

“So Mr. Gibbs... “ she started to say but he interrupted, “Jethro.”

She nodded and started again, “So, Jethro, you must be someone very important for Allesandro to be tripping over himself like that. What do you do?”

Very nonchalantly he replied, “I build boats.”

“Boats?” she questioned slowly, trying to figured him out.

“Big boats.” he teased.

“I am going to have to think about that while I prepare you a meal you will never forget.” And with that she stole his menu away and headed for the kitchen.

He sat sipping some wine and watching the comings and goings in the restaurant, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. He really was a simple man, and the stress of the past few days, with everyone trying to impress him and convince him to move his operation back to Virginia, was tiring. It felt good to just be himself.

A waiter arrived bearing an overloaded tray full of delicacies that were all placed in front of Jethro. He laughed out loud when he saw it all and enjoyed himself immensely as he sampled everything. Ziva had given him a few minute then showed up table side with a grin. He got her to sit for a minute as he ohh'd and ahh'd everything much to her delight.

She stood to go back to the kitchen, there were more dinners to prepare, and he asked quickly before she left, “Do you get a night off?”

She paused and answered, “Yes. Tomorrow night actually.”

“Have dinner with me?”

Ziva received more than her fair share of date invitations, but did not accept many, dating was generally a disaster for her. Something about this man, though, was pulling her in, and she found that she really wanted the opportunity to get to know him better.

“Dinner?”

“Yeah. I was thinking you and me and a bottle of wine at a table...” he paused for effect, “on a boat down in the Florida Keys.”

Her eyes grew huge, and she asked hesitantly, “You want to take me to Florida?”

“Why not, my plane is at the airport, Kelly is in the Keys, all you have to do is say yes.”

She shook her head, “Who is Kelly?”

He got such a look of joy on his face at the question and his eyes softened as he said, "My boat.”

She looked up to see Allesandro giving her two very silly thumbs up, and she finally agreed to go with him, and threw back a final tease as she headed back to her kitchen, “I hope you have plenty of suntan oil on the Kelly. I don't like to burn...”

---------------

He asked her at the Athens Olympics...

The old woman was near hysterical in one of the main thoroughfares of a market, she was crying out in a language he recognized but didn't speak. He looked around frantically, hoping her family was nearby. She had a hold of his forearm in a death grip and he finally figured out that she was blind and hence her terror. She was pulling him around recklessly and he felt himself bump roughly into someone and a moment later a soft husky voice was speaking to the woman, calming her. Jethro looked over to promptly have his mouth drop open. The owner of the voice was a petite woman of middle eastern descent. She was dressed simply in a pair of khaki pants and t-shirt and was without a doubt one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He watched her assist the old woman and asked, “Do you speak English?”

She looked at him with a playful smirk, and teased, “And Turkish, and French, and several others. But if I tell you all of them now we will not have anything to talk about when you buy me a coffee later.”

He laughed out loud at that one, “I'm buying you a coffee huh? And why would I do that?”

She pointed to the ground behind him, “To make up for the one you made me drop when you bumped into me.”

A frantic couple came plowing through the crowd towards the old woman, it was her son and daughter. They happily took her off their hands, leaving the two of them standing there a little shyly. Finally he said, “Maybe we should start over, I'm Jethro, Jethro Gibbs,” as he extended his hand.

She shook his hand and introduced herself, “Ziva David.”

“Can I buy you a coffee, Miss David?”

She nodded and they found a coffee vendor and sipping the bitter brew as they explored the market they chatted. Both were in Athens for the Olympics. His daughter Kelly was competing in Archery, and Ziva's sister Tali was competing in Judo. Both of them were at practice leaving their families to fend for themselves for the afternoon. Ziva didn't see a wedding ring on his hand but wanted to be sure so asked, “Is your wife watching Kelly practice?”

She saw a flash of pain cross his face and instantly regretted the question, but he answered honestly, “No, Kelly's mom died in a car accident a long time ago, I'm not married.”

Ziva tried to apologize for the question but he wouldn't hear of it, she had no way of knowing and it was just an old pain that nagged at him.

She was really attracted to this American, his demeanor gentle but strong. And she could tell by the way his eyes lit up when he talked about her that his daughter was the center of his universe. He had a great sense of humor and made her laugh many times throughout the afternoon, and he was the epitome of a gentleman. She wondered what he thought of her.

Gibbs couldn't remember the last time he had felt so drawn to a woman, and it wasn't just physical. She was smart and funny and had an amazing global view of the world. As they walked they had talked about many things and he found himself wanting to know all there was about her. And he wondered what she thought of him.

They found a little bench and pulled out their schedules for the next week, both unwilling to settle for only one afternoon together. They were fortunate that the scheduling worked out well for them. She was able to accompany him to watch Kelly's competition, and he was able to go with her to Tali's. Neither won a medal, but they both gave it their all, and were good sports, true Olympians.

He had wanted to take Ziva out to dinner, someplace quiet and private but it just didn't work out. And the closest they got was the night before the last day of competition, they bought some kebabs from a street vendor and found an out of the way patch of grass to sit on and eat. He lamented, “I wanted to take you out for dinner, not out for dinner,” he gestured around them.

She laughed, “So are you asking me out on a date, Jethro?”

“Yeah, I guess I am. So whatdya say? Can I take you to dinner sometime?”

“Where?” she asked disbelieving.

He reached over and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and stroked her cheek with his thumb, “Any city you want. Just name the place.”

She had thought for sure that he wouldn't think of her twice once he went home to Washington, but she could see in his eyes that he wasn't lying, “I'm thinking maybe Paris. But you will need to practice your French...”

---------------

He asked her at the home improvement store...

Ziva grabbed the heavy metal cart and her woman's magazine with the “simple” instructions for building some built in bookshelves and headed into the giant home improvement store. She tried to give off an air of confidence, but in reality she knew she was very far out of her home improvement league with anything more complicated than a paint roller.

She was in the lumber aisle looking around painfully, she had hoped to simply be able to purchase lumber already cut to the lengths in the magazine, but she had no such luck. She couldn't afford to hire a carpenter to do the needed renovations she needed for her studio and had really wanted to be able to do things on her own. She sat down on the low edge of the cart and just stared at the magazine, wishing she could just will the shelves to appear in her studio.

Jethro was walking past the end of the aisle on his way to another part of the store when he saw her dejected form sitting on the cart. Never being one to resist being able to help a woman in distress he turned down the aisle and approached her.

She didn't look up as he approached and he was able to catch a glance at the detailed shelving plan in the magazine on her lap, “Big project,” he offered from beside her.

Ziva momentarily lost the ability to speak as she took in the man speaking to her. Dressed in a pair of jean and Marine Corps sweatshirt he could have been any one of a hundred men in the store, but it was his eyes that just instantly captivated her, she had never seen eyes that blue, and she also couldn't recall the last time anyone had looked at her that intently.

Jethro was also a bit awed, she was beautiful and exotic and he really wanted to wipe that frown off her face and make her smile.

She recovered her wits enough to reply, “Too big a project for me I am afraid.”

He surprised her further by sitting down on the cart next to her and snagging the magazine, he skimmed it and frowned, “Wow, are they doing things the hard way. You weren't really gonna follow these plans were you?”

She laughed in spite of herself, “Well I was going to try.”

“Have you ever built anything like this before?”

“No. Have you?”

He took a breath and exhaled, “Oh, yeah. But not with plans like this. There are better plans in the books up front,” he stood and held out his hand to help her up, “C'mon, I'll show you, ah... ?”

She took his hand and let him tug her upright and she smiled, “Ziva. Ziva David.”

“Nice to meet you Ziva David, I'm Jethro, Jethro Gibbs.”

As they walked to the front of the store where the racks of books were kept he asked, “So what are the shelves for?”

“I have started giving piano lessons and the room where the piano is located is small but I need storage space for sheet music and recording equipment.”

They talked a bit more about the studio's setup and he was able to point out several books that had better plans in them for what she wanted to do. He told her to look through them for something she liked and then come and find him at the center of the store where they held customer workshops.

She wondered what sort of workshop he was taking, he already seemed very knowledgeable. She found a book that had plans for exactly what she wanted and she made her way to the workshop area. She paused as she found out that he wasn't attending the workshop, he was teaching it. He was surrounded by a group of children, all attempting to make something that resembled a birdhouse. She leaned up against a shelf and just watched him. The children adored him and he was amazing with them, encouraging everyone and making sure no one got left out. They worked for almost an hour and Ziva's eyes never left him. Finally he announced that the class was over and he would see everyone next Saturday.

The kids all shouted their goodbyes and Ziva saw one mother, with no wedding ring on her finger, approach Jethro and start, for lack of a better word, fawning over him as he packed away all the birdhouses and supplies in a plastic tote. He had a trapped, desperate look on his face until he saw Ziva and then his expression just lit up and he said almost rudely to the woman, “Excuse me,” and headed over to where Ziva was standing. She smiled, “You are very good teacher, Jethro. And you were very patient with all of the children.”

They both caught a glimpse of the spurned mother giving them the evil eye and Gibbs sighed, “The kids yeah, not always their parents.”

She nodded knowingly and held up the book, “I found a book.”

They looked it over, and although much simpler than her original magazine, he was concerned. And he voiced it, voiced it like he had known her forever, “Ziva, you play the piano for a living, don't make me worry about you chopping off a finger. Why don't I build them for you? You can supervise.”

Before she could answer, answer that she wouldn't feel comfortable given that she had just met him, his name was yelled from the end of the aisle. They both turned to see a burly man in a wheelchair, an obvious double leg amputee, zipping towards them.

“Jethro, hey.”

Jethro shook his hand, “Hey, Gus. You're out of bed before noon? What's the occasion?”

“Wise guy. Just picking up some cork board tiles for the wall near the new desk.”

“Is that working all right for you? I put adjustable brackets on it, we can raise or lower it if you need to.”

“No, man, it's perfect. But the brackets were a good idea in case I change wheelchairs. By the way I got our website started. We should be totally in business in a week or so.”

Ziva was watching the exchange with interest, and learning more about Jethro than most people she suspected.

Gus' attention finally found Ziva and he teased Gibbs, “Gonna introduce me to your friend, Gunny?”

Gibbs shooks his head and turned to Ziva, “I should say no, but then he'll whine. So Ziva David this is Sergeant Gus Blakefield. Gus, this is Ziva.”

She shook his hand and Gus teased Gibbs, “Didn't know you had a new girl, Gunny.”

Ziva was flustered, “Oh, um, we are not, that is, we just met this morning.” Gibbs on the other hand felt his ears burning and knew he was blushing.

Gus teased good-naturedly, “You know, maybe I should hang out here more often, maybe I could find a pretty girl.”

Gibbs snorted, “Except the pretty girl at home that you call your wife would kill you.”

“Good point. Well, hey, I'm off to find that cork board. I'll talk to you later, Gunny. Ziva, nice meeting you.”

Jethro turned back to Ziva a little sheepishly, feeling like she had found out way too much about him in a short time to be completely comfortable. He decided a preemptive strike was in order and rattled off quickly, “Yes, he's a Marine that lost his legs in Iraq. Yes, I built him a special desk that his wheelchair fits under. Yes, I know his wife and two daughters well. And yes, we're starting a business together, he's doing computer blueprints for all of the things I build and we're going to sell them on the internet. That about sums it up.”

Her eyes were filled with humor as his met them and they both laughed and she said, “This has been the strangest morning.”

“So are you going to let me build your shelves for you?”

She hesitated, then replied, “Jethro, I can not pay you for the work and I wouldn't feel right about accepting your offer.”

He nodded and thought for a moment, “How's about we take it out in trade?”

When her eyebrow shot up at the innuendo he stammered out quickly, “I didn't mean it like that. I meant, how's about I build your shelves and you give Gus's two girls piano lessons for me. Sound fair?”

Ziva smiled widely, “Very fair. And it is a deal.”

“Good. One more thing then...”

“What?”

“Can I take you to dinner tonight?” he asked hopefully.

She rolled her eyes playfully and nodded, “This has been the strangest morning...”

---------------

He asked her at the fire house...

Deputy Chief Gibbs looked out over the kiddie carnival that was in full swing. The department ran it every year to raise money for children's fire-prevention education programs, and each year it just got better and better. This was the tenth anniversary of the carnival and it was being featured in a national magazine. They had informed Gibbs they were sending out a photographer but hadn't given him any other specific information.

He was showing how the fire hose nozzle worked to a little boy of about five when she saw him for the first time. His crisp white uniform shirt setting him apart from the other firefighters, even if it hadn't, the man in the shirt himself certainly did. As Ziva watched him with the child she snapped several pictures that she just knew were going to be perfect for the magazine, maybe even the cover.

When Jethro stood and the little boy ran back to his mother, he caught sight of a stunning woman carrying a sophisticated camera. His photographer had arrived. They walked towards each other, both assessing and liking what they saw. Ziva was the first to speak, “Hi, I am looking for...” she glanced at his name badge, “Oh, you actually, Chief Gibbs.” She extended her hand, “Ziva David, I hope they told you I was coming today.”

Her voice had a twinge of a huskiness to it, and coupled with her accent it was the sexiest thing he had ever heard. The woman could probably read the phone book out loud and turn men on.

He smiled widely, and with a hint of a tease, said, “Oh they told me a photographer was coming, but they never mentioned anything about you Ziva David.”

“I can tell that you are disappointed.”

He had to chuckle at her teasing, “Oh, no. I like surprises.”

“I will have to remember that Chief Gibbs.”

“Jethro.”

“Jethro. Well, if it is all right with you, I am going to go find interesting things things to photograph.”

He watched her walk away, and felt a pull towards her that he hadn't felt in a long, long time. He noticed how the men in his department kept gawking at her, but she seemed almost oblivious to it, it was like she had no idea the effect she was having on the men in her orbit. The only time that changed was when she felt his eyes on her, and then she would look up with a little grin and either wave or give him a wink.

Noon time they both found themselves in line for a hamburger and with their plates full of burgers and potato chips they managed to find a spot at one of the tables to sit and eat together. Neither of them noticed anything but the other, and as they sat there eating and talking, those that knew Gibbs well were simply amazed that he was sitting so comfortably with her, and laughing and sharing. These were things he just didn't do.

The carnival wound down in the afternoon, a raving success. As the volunteers and fire fighters cleaned up he found her at the back of her SUV putting her camera equipment back in its bag in preparation to leave. She said lightly, 'It looks as though you had a good day. Did you raise lots of money?”

“I don't have the final numbers but it looks like our best year yet. It was a good day. I think all the little kids had fun.”

She closed the hatch of the SUV and with a grin teased, “All the big kids too I suspect.” There had been a lot of ribbing and teasing among the firefighters and their families. It was a relaxing sort of day.

“Well you know, all work and no play...”

“So what do you do to play, Jethro?”

He smirked and tugged his ear, “Let me take you to dinner tonight and I just might tell you.”

“I'll have dinner with you on one condition.”

Jethro laughed out loud when she told him what it was, and he was still laughing to the shock of his subordinates when he caught Ziva as she slid down to the bottom of the brass fireman's pole in the firehouse...

---------------

He didn't ask after she left the bar...

There were many things that NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs wasn't sure of, but tonight there was one thing he was absolutely sure of, and that was that Ziva was not at fine as she keep telling everyone she was. He suspected that she had slept with Locke, whether because she was truly attracted to him or because she wanted to obliterate the fear and self-doubt she found racing in her after her encounter with Hoffman. Either way it didn't matter to him, he had had more than his fair share of one night stands that solved nothing, meant nothing.

As he worked solemnly in his basement, he debated with himself about going over and checking on her. He knew she had found Locke's missing girlfriend and was going to back to that bar to give it to him. He wondered what her response would have been if he had been leaning up against his car waiting for her when she came out. There were so many times that he just wanted to pull her into his arms and not let her go, to try and take away the pain and sting of every one of her hurts and slights. He had held her once almost two years ago when crept into his hospital room, held her as she let out all the pain and stress she had had bottled up inside her since the explosion. It had almost killed him not to hold her when they found her on the ground next Hoffman's dead body.

But that wasn't who they were, they were the consummate soldiers, the unfeeling machines of the team. Gibbs and Ziva, able to kill anyone and not look back. Except they did. And they died inside a little more each time.

He argued with himself as he fit a different drill bit in the handle, he should have gone with her tonight, or asked her to dinner, or anything that let her know he was there for her, that he would always be there for her. He was so absorbed in his own internal argument that he almost missed her soft step on his stairs.

She walked over to where he was standing with her one of her hands tucked in her back pocket, she looked better now than she had earlier and he wondered what had changed.

She stood toe-to-toe with him, not saying anything, but their eyes were locked and they both read a lot of things in those eyes. Her free hand found his cheek, and it was warm and reassuring that she really was alive and okay. Ziva stood on tip toe and pressed a soft kiss to his mouth, he wasn't sure if it was a thank you, an invitation, or a goodbye, and it set his nerves on edge.

She stepped back and in almost mirror images of each other, both licked their bottom lip, as if to verify that the kiss had actually happened.

And with a tilt of her head and a little smirk that he knew so well she asked, “Can I buy you dinner?”

And with that he knew that the kiss had been in fact, an invitation...

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the end

Chapters: 1

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